Virtual Farm Tour Available "On Demand" for Classrooms through Discovery Education
Nov 15, 2017
Everyone remembers their beloved grade-school field trips. Most often, at least one included a trip to the zoo. Sometimes, depending on where you grew up, a farm or pumpkin patch in the fall. Even growing up in a rural school district, touring a large, modern dairy farm would be rare. But this is 2017, and with the use of digital technology and a partnership with Discovery Education, the National Dairy Council and America’s dairy farm families and importers, are bringing dairy into the classroom with a modern twist. The first dairy Virtual Field Trip – “Undeniably Dairy: Caring for Cows & Nourishing Communities” - launched Oct. 19 during “Farm to School” month with great attendance and success. Classrooms across the country signed in and explored the modern landscape of a dairy farm and its operations, while learning about the innovations farmers are using to care for their cows and nurture the land, preserving natural resources for future generations. The field trip is part of a new partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, focused on reaching 5th to 8th grade classrooms across the country. In addition to learning about some of the innovations farmers use daily, the trip also allowed students to discover the different team members and jobs that make up the dairy community. The 30-minute video segment was paired with a live Twitter Chat using the hashtag #undeniablydairyvft which allowed students and teachers to post questions, and dairy farmers and dairy industry professionals, like Dairy MAX, joined, taking the discussion online to increase exposure. Real-time chats and discussions boosted awareness of dairy messages such as animal care and nutrition, but also bridged the gap between consumers and dairy farmers, bringing a dairy farmer into the classroom to help answer questions. Questions and discussion ranged from in-depth curiosities about a dairy cow’s diet, to the size of a dairy calf when born. No matter the level of question, discussion stayed positive and provided answers for curious grade-school students wanting to learn more about where dairy foods come from. Dairy farmers and professionals also joined the discussion online providing additional resources and a face to dairy farming. Dairy farmers posted pictures from their farms helping answer questions about animal care and practices they’re using to improve sustainability on their farm – emphasizing each dairy farm is different but the goals are the same: healthy, happy cows with a commitment to sustainability and community. “The dairy community is doing a better job than ever in practices of animal care and adoption of innovations,” said Kaci Creel, senior director of consumer confidence and strategic communications, Dairy MAX. “We know that many consumers don’t have the opportunity to visit a dairy farm, and being able to leverage digital technology and resources to share dairy’s story can help us inform and counter misperceptions at an early age, helping to build lifelong trust and advocacy for dairy.” In addition to the video and live chat, teachers were provided access to an education and activity guide. The downloadable content aligns with Next Generation Science and Language Arts Standards truly making the virtual field trip part of the overall learning experience. In addition to the content pieces, Discovery Education will deploy a survey to educators to provide key insights on the effectiveness of the content, and potential future uses. Following the Virtual Field Trip, a shorter 360-degree video and images will be added to the resources for classrooms in early 2018, with all resources housed on a customized website with easy, free access to classrooms and audiences nationwide. To access the Virtual Field Trip and view additional information and resources visit: DiscoveryUndeniablyDairy.com.